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Exploring "Land of Plenty" Fuchsia Dunlop [Was- Mapo Tofu]

Exploring "Land of Plenty" Fuchsia Dunlop [Was- Mapo Tofu]
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  • Post #91 - May 22nd, 2010, 9:57 am
    Post #91 - May 22nd, 2010, 9:57 am Post #91 - May 22nd, 2010, 9:57 am
    BR wrote:
    lougord99 wrote:In Kung Pao chicken she suggests using potato flour in both the sauce and the marinade. First I tried dumping the flour into the liquid ingredients and it simply turned into clumps. Then I tried slowly adding liquid ingredients to the flour. It again turned into clumps. How do you incorporate potato flour into liquid?

    Try adding very little liquid to the flour, whisk until it forms a paste . . . then add some more liquid and repeat. By adding minimal amounts of liquid and whisking after each addition, you'll avoid clumps.

    And don''t forget to stir it up again before adding to the wok
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #92 - May 22nd, 2010, 5:54 pm
    Post #92 - May 22nd, 2010, 5:54 pm Post #92 - May 22nd, 2010, 5:54 pm
    JoelF wrote:
    BR wrote:Try adding very little liquid to the flour, whisk until it forms a paste . . . then add some more liquid and repeat. By adding minimal amounts of liquid and whisking after each addition, you'll avoid clumps.

    And don''t forget to stir it up again before adding to the wok
    I switched to Dunlop's preference of potato flour and have not had a problem incorporating into liquid using a spoon. If you are getting clumps that simply will not come out try a small whisk. Its also possible you bought a pack of old or mismanaged potato flour, try a new pack from a different source.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #93 - May 23rd, 2010, 11:29 am
    Post #93 - May 23rd, 2010, 11:29 am Post #93 - May 23rd, 2010, 11:29 am
    Good idea. I will get a new package. I tried everything and was finally forced to rub the clumps between my thumb and forefinger to get any semblance of integration.
  • Post #94 - August 12th, 2010, 6:57 am
    Post #94 - August 12th, 2010, 6:57 am Post #94 - August 12th, 2010, 6:57 am
    I made the fish fragrant eggplant from "Land of Plenty" last week with a couple alterations (I sauteed the eggplant rather than deep-frying it and I added about 3/4 ground pork). I used a handful of the pingtung eggplants from by patio garden.

    Image

    Image
  • Post #95 - August 12th, 2010, 7:06 am
    Post #95 - August 12th, 2010, 7:06 am Post #95 - August 12th, 2010, 7:06 am
    Looks good, how'd it taste??

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #96 - August 12th, 2010, 8:01 am
    Post #96 - August 12th, 2010, 8:01 am Post #96 - August 12th, 2010, 8:01 am
    Geo wrote:Looks good, how'd it taste??


    Very good (but not as good as the grilled squid from Le Roi du Plateau!)
  • Post #97 - August 12th, 2010, 8:33 am
    Post #97 - August 12th, 2010, 8:33 am Post #97 - August 12th, 2010, 8:33 am
    C'est ça!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #98 - October 12th, 2010, 8:22 am
    Post #98 - October 12th, 2010, 8:22 am Post #98 - October 12th, 2010, 8:22 am
    I made General Tso's Chicken recently essentially using Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe (but I deep-fried the chicken as recommended on Diana Kuan's blog Appetite for China.

    It turned out pretty well, though I prefer the Cook's Illustrated orange chicken restaurant if I'm doing the deep-fried Ameri-chinese chicken stir-fry thing.

    Mise:
    Image


    Chicken:
    Image

    Finished dish:
    Image
  • Post #99 - July 7th, 2011, 9:26 pm
    Post #99 - July 7th, 2011, 9:26 pm Post #99 - July 7th, 2011, 9:26 pm
    Thanks Gary!

    It took me long enough, but I finally made a vegetarian mapo doufu/ pock-marked ma's bean curd primarily following Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook, I've had it since the late 80's/early 90's & finally made something from it.

    Delicious. Yes I will do it again & next time I want the tree ears and fresh water chestnuts,because today I had no time to run to Asian markets plus now I want that vinegar you find on the tables in some of the restaurants in town added to the dish.

    Yes! Another tofu dish I actually like.


    Image

    Hmmm, want to do her oily scallion cakes ( sounds a lot like the one's you used).
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #100 - July 9th, 2011, 3:18 pm
    Post #100 - July 9th, 2011, 3:18 pm Post #100 - July 9th, 2011, 3:18 pm
    pairs4life,
    Just curious, what "meat" did you use in your version of mapo?
  • Post #101 - July 10th, 2011, 8:46 am
    Post #101 - July 10th, 2011, 8:46 am Post #101 - July 10th, 2011, 8:46 am
    Sharona wrote:pairs4life,
    Just curious, what "meat" did you use in your version of mapo?


    Gimmelean- burger version, will try sausage version in the future.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #102 - July 10th, 2011, 8:34 pm
    Post #102 - July 10th, 2011, 8:34 pm Post #102 - July 10th, 2011, 8:34 pm
    pairs4life wrote:
    Sharona wrote:pairs4life,
    Just curious, what "meat" did you use in your version of mapo?


    Gimmelean- burger version, will try sausage version in the future.


    Thanks! My husband usually likes the gimmelean products, I'll have to try out this mapo recipe with the crumbles for him sometime.
  • Post #103 - July 19th, 2011, 8:11 am
    Post #103 - July 19th, 2011, 8:11 am Post #103 - July 19th, 2011, 8:11 am
    I'm coming a little late to this thread, apologies in advance if I re-iterate something already said.

    A bean paste that I've come to favor in making dunlop's mapo is Hwa Nan fresh chili with fermented soy bean (other bean pastes from the same company can be seen here:http://www.1800-shop.com/sauce-seasonings-c-375.html, i think but am not sure I bought it at Tai Nam. I've tried most of the others pictured above and the Hwa Nan has a little brighter flavor (and color too). Generally I use silken tofu, I like creaminess of it in conjunction with the spicy sauce (though i know it isn't necessarily traditional). Another addition, especially during periods of overproduction that works well, is garden zucchini, if cooked al dente.

    While I understand the substitution of scallions for leeks (and have done so myself numerous times) in this dish I think leeks are much much tastier. My favorite use of scallions in the book comes for another simple recipe which hasn't been mentioned but I like quite a lot - sichuan pepper and sesame oil sauce (p. 143-144) - besides using these for the chicken mentioned in the book, I'ved added this to among other things, steamed eggplant, tofu and steamed edamame, etc.

    In the chive recipe mentioned above (also one of the ones I like from the book) an addition I like is the use of smoked tofu, which you sometimes see paired with chives.

    do folks have favorites from her hunan book?
  • Post #104 - July 19th, 2011, 9:07 am
    Post #104 - July 19th, 2011, 9:07 am Post #104 - July 19th, 2011, 9:07 am
    zim wrote:Generally I use silken tofu, I like creaminess of it in conjunction with the spicy sauce (though i know it isn't necessarily traditional).

    Hi,

    Kelly Cheng, of Sun Wah BBQ and now a joint owner of tofu production company: Sun Xien (it means fresh in Cantonese and Mandarin), gave a lecture on tofu last week.

    The Cheng family are Southern Chinese, who favor firm and silken tofu. She commented silken tofu was preferred tofu by Southern Chinese for Mapo Tofu. I had always been using firm. She said the sauciness of Mapo Tofu lends itself better to silken than firm. The firm she felt added a disconcerting firmness amongst other soft textures.

    Sun Xien won't be in production until October, if not earlier or later. There will be a podcast up soon, if you want to catch it.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #105 - July 19th, 2011, 6:06 pm
    Post #105 - July 19th, 2011, 6:06 pm Post #105 - July 19th, 2011, 6:06 pm
    zim wrote:do folks have favorites from her hunan book?


    I got the Hunan book recently and our first recipe was the cumin beef (we added red peppers). We liked this a lot and plan to try it with lamb.

    Image
  • Post #106 - May 13th, 2012, 7:04 pm
    Post #106 - May 13th, 2012, 7:04 pm Post #106 - May 13th, 2012, 7:04 pm
    A few weeks ago, my wife said she was in the mood for ma po tofu for dinner, and I was in the mood to not drive all the way to Chinatown for Lao Sze Chuan takeout...so with a bit of searching, I found this thread, dug through our cabinets & fridge, and ran out for a few ingredients. The end result hit the spot perfectly:

    Image

    This dish was so satisfying and easy & fun to make, I went ahead and ordered Fuschia Dunlop's Sichuan and Hunan books. I apologize in advance to Tony Hu for the lost revenue, because if all of Ms. Dunlop's recipes are this good (from the looks of this thread, I'd say they are), he won't be seeing us for a while ;)
  • Post #107 - May 14th, 2012, 10:56 pm
    Post #107 - May 14th, 2012, 10:56 pm Post #107 - May 14th, 2012, 10:56 pm
    ... if all of Ms. Dunlop's recipes are this good


    They are! The Hunan book is great to just curl up in bed and read, too. BTW, if you have trouble finding the fava bean/chile paste, just hit the Broadway Supermarket - they have a couple of brands in stock on a regular basis. Just look for a jar labeled 'Broad Bean paste with Chili.' Good stuff, and Ms. Dunlop absolutely insists on its use in Ma Po Do Fu - she says that fermented black beans just will not do. (Politely, of course. :) )

    Also, I highly recommend her blog. She's very chatty and engaging, in addition to providing wonderful information. Good stuff, too!
  • Post #108 - May 21st, 2012, 6:09 pm
    Post #108 - May 21st, 2012, 6:09 pm Post #108 - May 21st, 2012, 6:09 pm
    La zi yu - Fish with Chiles and Sichuan Pepper
    (direct translation is Spicy Fish)

    Another winning dish. Made because SueF is out this evening (she is not fond of fin-fish), and it's just Thing2 and I. Not a simple one to make, it takes three cooking processes, plus mise en place and marinade. I had time for my brown rice to cook while prepping this and as side dish of asparagus in oyster sauce.

    The fish is marinated in smashed ginger, scallions, rice wine and salt. I mistakenly added the batter at this point (cornstarch and water), but I don't think it had a huge effect on the final product.
    A set of "base seasonings" is stir fried in oil and toban jan (chile bean paste): more scallions, sliced garlic and ginger, a few dried chiles, sichuan peppercorns (I used the sichuan peppercorn oil my son brought back from Beijing).
    The fish is then blanched in boiling water (I was supposed to drain the marinade and add the cornstarch slurry at this point, so my batter was somewhat damp).

    I made the mistake at this point of starting the last step: hot oil -- I should have paid more attention to the fish. Either (a) I overcooked it, (b) sole was a bad choice, (c) the cornstarch didn't protect the fish because it was too thin, or (d) all of the above, because it fell apart into small chunks intead of the 1"x3" strips I started with. It also overboiled all over the stove. Anyway, fish them out, and prepare a hot oil: heat a lot of oil (I used a little less than called for), more toban jan, a boatload of dried chiles (1-2oz) and sichuan peppercorns until as toasty as you like 'em, and pour over the fish, served sizzling.

    The flavors were fantastic, and I'm now convinced that the dishes such as Three Chile Chicken at LSC are prepared similarly (although fried): Cook the main ingredient, then pour spicy oil over it. It's got that oily sheen that I never get when I cook the food in the oil. Not blazingly spicy, but rich and delicious, even if the fish got a little mushy.

    The asparagus in oyster sauce proved a nice foil for the heat, all in all a great meal.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #109 - May 25th, 2012, 9:31 am
    Post #109 - May 25th, 2012, 9:31 am Post #109 - May 25th, 2012, 9:31 am
    A little late joining the party but I'm here now! So far my exploration of the cookbook has been limited to reading intensively. I note from perusing the earlier pages in the thread that several different markets have been mentioned as sources for various things.

    The items I am particularly interested in, at least for the moment, are Chinkiang vinegar and the "facing-heaven" peppers. Can anyone recommend one (okay, two) stores that are most likely to satisfy my wide-ranging Fuchsia Dunlop shopping needs? I can certainly visit twelve stores if I have to, but I'd prefer to know in advance if there is one place where I am most likely to get most things (even if, god forbid, it's by mail).
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #110 - May 25th, 2012, 10:35 am
    Post #110 - May 25th, 2012, 10:35 am Post #110 - May 25th, 2012, 10:35 am
    Gypsy Boy: I highly recommend Broadway Supermarket, on Broadway at Ainslie/Gunnison. Tremendous resource for all manner of Asian ingredients, as well as for fresh produce and seafood, including live lobsters, and live blue crabs and crayfish in season. Not too far from you, either - take Ridge to Broadway and you're there. The last time I was there, I found the top-of-the-cup setup for making Vietnamese coffee, as well as multiple brands of the proper coffee to use, in addition to what I actually came for: the chile-broad bean paste for use in the aforementioned Dunlop recipe for Ma Po Do Fu. Have fun! Allow yourself plenty of time to peruse the cookware & dish aisles, too. :shock:

    Broadway Supermarket
    4879 N Broadway St
    (between Ainslie St & Gunnison St)
    Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 334-3838
  • Post #111 - May 25th, 2012, 8:18 pm
    Post #111 - May 25th, 2012, 8:18 pm Post #111 - May 25th, 2012, 8:18 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:The items I am particularly interested in, at least for the moment, are Chinkiang vinegar and the "facing-heaven" peppers. Can anyone recommend one (okay, two) stores that are most likely to satisfy my wide-ranging Fuchsia Dunlop shopping needs?

    For Sichuan ingredients I've had the most luck at Chinatown Market at Archer & Wentworth. You'll find a decent selection of chilies (pickled and dry), pastes (chili and/or bean) and pickled vegetables (pay special attention to the plastic pouches), all from Sichuan.

    They have Chinkiang vinegar but, like all the stores I've visited, I don't think they have any of particularly high quality (anyone know a source for some primo stuff?). In the Pantry chapter of Land of Plenty Ms Dunlop notes that Baoning vinegar is the finest Sichuanese vinegar but says it's not available in the West. Fortunately that has changed. Here's a bottle I found somewhere in Chicago (I think at Chinatown Market but not certain).

    Image

    I'm not convinced this is an especially good example of Baoning vinegar but it's certainly adequate for general use.

    Facing-heaven chilies aren't that easy to find (at least for me) but Chinatown Market has them. Here's the package to look for.

    Image

    Those two big red characters are key: 朝天 = chao tian = toward day = facing heaven. I'm indebted to Kitchen Chick for her extremely useful guide to Sichuan ingredients. As you're probably aware, Fuchsia Dunlop's blog is invaluable as well.

    Chinatown Market also carries a shredded dry chili from Sichuan that I think is a little different but is also fun to cook with. It's reminiscent of a spicy Spanish pimentón. Here's some of the label.

    Image

    I transferred the peppers to a jar along with part of the bag's label so all the information isn't there. Can anyone tell me exactly what these are?

    You didn't ask but I've been pretty happy with Sichuan peppercorns ( 花椒 = hua jiao = flower pepper) from Chinatown Market. I almost always shy away from ground spices but this stuff is far better than most of the whole buds I've found in Chicago.

    Image

    Chinatown Market is a very good store but browsing isn't always pleasant. Aisles are narrow and crowded making it difficult to study the densely-packed shelves. I think evenings toward closing may be the best time to visit (assuming you don't need to pick up a freshly butchered turtle).

    Chinatown Market
    2121 S Archer Av
    (free parking immediately east of store)
    Chicago
    312-733-9633
    open to 8pm every day
  • Post #112 - May 26th, 2012, 4:33 am
    Post #112 - May 26th, 2012, 4:33 am Post #112 - May 26th, 2012, 4:33 am
    Peter,
    Many thanks for the detailed and really helpful guide. I would have asked for Baoning vinegar but didn't anticipate that our fortunes would have changed so quickly. Wunnerful. I also appreciate the link to Kitchen Chick. As to Sichuan peppercorns, I've been pretty happy with the whole ones from Penzey's/Spice House. Looks like a trip to Chinatown is in my future! :D
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #113 - May 26th, 2012, 8:18 am
    Post #113 - May 26th, 2012, 8:18 am Post #113 - May 26th, 2012, 8:18 am
    Thank much, Rene G! The Baoning vinegar and Chaotian peppers are impressive finds.

    As for the shredded peppers, the label doesn't offer much info: the top four characters just tell us it's a specialty product of Sichuan, and the big characters only tell us what we know--hot pepper threads/shreds/slivers. A quick internet search in Chinese didn't yield much in the way of uses--I'd try using it with other threads or shreds, to match the appearance. Shredded potatoes (土豆丝) might not be a bad bet.
  • Post #114 - May 26th, 2012, 9:10 am
    Post #114 - May 26th, 2012, 9:10 am Post #114 - May 26th, 2012, 9:10 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:As to Sichuan peppercorns, I've been pretty happy with the whole ones from Penzey's/Spice House.

    I'm a big Spice House fan and like their Sichuan peppercorns but I think I prefer the ground stuff from Chinatown Market. Not sure I've done a fair comparison though. I'd be interested to hear what you think if you pick up a packet when in Chinatown. Incidentally, the whole hua jiao buds I've gotten at CM in the past (it's been a while) have been pretty much worthless.

    If you are a peppermint fan, consider getting a bottle of Alcool de Menthe de Ricqlès while at Chinatown Market. It's by the front windows, with the medicines.

    mtgl wrote:As for the shredded peppers, the label doesn't offer much info: the top four characters just tell us it's a specialty product of Sichuan, and the big characters only tell us what we know--hot pepper threads/shreds/slivers.

    Thanks. I'm nearly out of these peppers so will pick up more on my next shopping trip. There's probably some additional information on the package. It's entirely possibly they're Chaotian peppers.
  • Post #115 - May 28th, 2012, 6:14 am
    Post #115 - May 28th, 2012, 6:14 am Post #115 - May 28th, 2012, 6:14 am
    Rene G wrote:They have Chinkiang vinegar but, like all the stores I've visited, I don't think they have any of particularly high quality (anyone know a source for some primo stuff?).


    I have found a large selection of Chinkiang vinegars as well; my question is: how do you know whether they are high quality or not? My only sense is to go by price, but that seems somewhat less than entirely reliable as a method. Failing that, though: ?
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #116 - May 28th, 2012, 7:20 am
    Post #116 - May 28th, 2012, 7:20 am Post #116 - May 28th, 2012, 7:20 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:I have found a large selection of Chinkiang vinegars as well; my question is: how do you know whether they are high quality or not? My only sense is to go by price, but that seems somewhat less than entirely reliable as a method. Failing that, though: ?

    Most of these are so cheap you can buy a few and see which you like. It seems Gold Plum is often cited as a favorite brand. I threw out a bunch of old bottles recently so don't know which brands I've tried. Most are fine for general use; it's for dipping sauces and similar applications where a higher quality vinegar would be most welcome.

    It's worth exploring other Chinese vinegars. Here's an aged Shanxi vinegar I bought recently at Chinatown Market.

    Image

    This is another of the famous black vinegars from China. Whereas Chinkiang vinegar is generally made from glutinous rice and Baoning is bran based, Shanxi vinegar is traditionally made from sorghum. Judging only from a small taste of the straight vinegar I'd say this one (Longyanjing brand—made from sorghum, corn, bran, barley and peas!) is one of my favorites. While it's fun to collect vinegars, I'd try not to get bogged down with it. Just buy one or two, open up Land of Plenty and start cooking.
  • Post #117 - May 28th, 2012, 9:43 am
    Post #117 - May 28th, 2012, 9:43 am Post #117 - May 28th, 2012, 9:43 am
    Thanks for the tips. Taste: the final frontier!

    FWIW, I just returned home from a several hour browsing trip to both Hong Kong Market and Chinatown Market. The former was much better in terms of selection for almost every item I was seeking. I ended up, between the two stores, with six (!) different brands of Pixian dou ban jian. Sadly the dried (whole) pepper selection (while better at Hong Kong Market) was not good at either place. I'm gonna have to spend some time checking the internet to see what I ended up with. My hunch, shopping early on a holiday, turned out to be mostly right, though Chinatown Market (which opens at 9, making an hour long trip to Hong Kong Market perfect, since it opens at 8) did get busy rather quickly. People were generally helpful, though a bit more gracious at Chinatown Market. My shopping list (English/transliterated Chinese/Chinese) was extremely helpful except for the ya cai (mustard green pickle). I did not transcribe wrong but something else must be going on because several different people insisted that my characters (taken directly from Fuchsia Dunlop) were for bean sprouts!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #118 - May 28th, 2012, 11:13 am
    Post #118 - May 28th, 2012, 11:13 am Post #118 - May 28th, 2012, 11:13 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:FWIW, I just returned home from a several hour browsing trip to both Hong Kong Market and Chinatown Market. The former was much better in terms of selection for almost every item I was seeking.

    I like Hong Kong Market (mostly for frozen and packaged goods) but usually go to Chinatown Market, partly because of proximity to the L. Several years ago I didn't have much luck finding Sichuanese ingredients at HKM, right around the time CM increased their stock. Time to revisit.

    I was getting ready to file this pepper report when I saw you'd already been shopping. Oh well, maybe it will be helpful to someone else.

    While at Chinatown Market replenishing my chili supply I noticed some of the stock has changed. This is the new package of heaven-facing peppers.

    Image

    You can also purchase ground Chaotian peppers.

    Image

    Here's another Sichuan chili that looks very similar. I bought a bag of these to see how they compare to the ones I showed several posts above.

    Image

    I'm getting a little better at figuring out Chinese chili labels but I can't decipher that third large character that follows the stylized 辣椒 (la jiao = hot pepper).

    The shredded Sichuan peppers didn't seem to be in stock so I picked up these similar-looking ones from Anhui.

    Image

    I didn't see any Baoning vinegar this visit but noticed some aged vinegar from Shanxi (discussed a couple posts above).

    Gypsy Boy wrote:My shopping list (English/transliterated Chinese/Chinese) was extremely helpful except for the ya cai (mustard green pickle). I did not transcribe wrong but something else must be going on because several different people insisted that my characters (taken directly from Fuchsia Dunlop) were for bean sprouts!

    Ha! Sounds familiar. I've been through the same routine.

    In her blog Fuschia Dunlop wrote:If any of you have tried asking for ya cai in Chinese shops, you may have found that the staff there point you in the direction of beansprouts, causing great confusion on both sides. This is because the Chinese characters for Sichuanese ya cai are exactly the same as the characters for beansprouts, and most people outside Sichuan have not heard of ya cai!
  • Post #119 - May 28th, 2012, 12:49 pm
    Post #119 - May 28th, 2012, 12:49 pm Post #119 - May 28th, 2012, 12:49 pm
    Wonderful; thanks for the info on the bean sprouts!

    I bought bought all three packages of peppers you illustrate (only the ground were available at Chinatown Market--at least this morning). I wonder, though: are ganla jiao the same as "facing heaven" peppers? The characters seem distinct. I also got the other package you illustrated (with the white ink pagoda"; can't tell yet exactly what they are, though I've been perusing the net off and on since I got home.

    My most intriguing purchase (I think) was lao zao or fermented glutinous rice wine. Dunlop gives a simple recipe for making it in the book. But rather than chase down a yeast ball and go that route (it only belatedly occurs to me that I should have asked for the yeast at these stores), I decided to ask at Chinatown Market for the finished product. To my surprise, I was directed to the fresh produce area where some bottled items were refrigerated. And there, for about $4, was this:

    Image

    In fact, mine is very slightly different: "Wowo Wine Taste Rice." It is manufactured in Chengdu and features what appears to be a large ball of (presumably fermented glutinous) rice surrounded by a cup or two of liquid. More intriguingly (says the ingredient list): "Chinese wolfberry, gingko kernel, lotus seed, seed of Job's tsars [sic for 'tears'; listed as 'coix seed' on the other label], tremella [a fungus], Neotame [an artificial sweetener]." According to the label, you can eat it as is, add water or sugar or juice and drink it hot or cold, add it to steamed buns, or use it as a seasoning to "increase fragrant and flavour." Fascinating.

    And then there were the small one-serving packets of preserved mustard tuber....
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #120 - May 28th, 2012, 1:01 pm
    Post #120 - May 28th, 2012, 1:01 pm Post #120 - May 28th, 2012, 1:01 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:I bought bought all three packages of peppers you illustrate (only the ground were available at Chinatown Market--at least this morning). I wonder, though: are ganla jiao the same as "facing heaven" peppers? The characters seem distinct.


    I think, right next to the Romanized 'ganlajiao' it has the characters for Chao Tian.

    Rene G wrote:I'm getting a little better at figuring out Chinese chili labels but I can't decipher that third large character that follows the stylized 辣椒 (la jiao = hot pepper).


    I believe that third character is just 'gan,' which I think means 'dried' here. You can see the 'simplified' version (and phonetic component) of it on the bottom half of the right side of the character. I really only recall seeing this used in the context of tofu--doufu gan, or just gan zi--but it makes sense to me here.

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